104-1015-Joshua Chapter 14
Joshua and Elazar, the High Priest and the fathers of the tribes of Israel came together to supervise the casting of the lots which was directed by the Lord.
The practice of casting lots is seen 70 times in the Old Testament and 7 times in the New Testament. We do not really know what the actual lot is but it is possible that, according to the historian Josephus, that is was the Urim and Thummim that was carried in two pouches of the Breastplate of the Priest. This breastplate is known as the Breastplate of Judgment. Though this is not a good example of casting lots the practice is much like today with the flip of a coin to make a judgment.
This practice is used here in Joshua Chapter 14 but this is not the first time in Israel’s history. God revealed this practice to the Israelite nation in Numbers 25:55, 33:54, 34:13, and 36:2. God allowed the Israelites to cast the lots in order to determine His will in certain given situations. Different offices and functions in the Temple were also settled by the casting of lots. (1 Chronicles 24:5, 25:8-9, and 26:13-14) We also see the practice used in the book of Jonah where the sailors cast lots to determine who God’s wrath was placed upon their ship. (Jonah 1:7) The remaining eleven disciples also cast lots to learn God’s decision on who should replace Judas. (Acts 1:26) The practice also fell upon the secular world as the Roman soldiers cast lots for the garments of Jesus at the foot of the cross. (Matthew 27:35)
With the New Testament, the new Covenant, we are no longer instructed to cast lots to determine God’s will. The Christian now has the indwelling Holy Spirit to council us to know God’s will in our life. Thus, there is no use in games of chance to make decisions. The Word of God, the Spirit of God, and prayer are sufficient to discerning God’s will.
Joseph was given to portions of land through his sons Manasseh and Ephraim. Even though we speak of the twelve tribes of Israel there were thirteen. There were twelve sons of Jacob (Israel) but he received to portions one for each of his sons.
Therefore, there were two and one half tribes on the east side of the Jordan and nine and one half tribes on the west side. The Levites were given no land as they were the Priestly tribe and will have God for their inheritance.
Caleb, who is from the tribe of Judah, was one of the twelve spies that were sent out by Moses to scout the Promised Land. It had been forty-five years since that time when Israel was on the threshold of the Promised Land. (Numbers 13:1-25) Caleb and Joshua were the only two spies that came back with a god report. They came back with a report of faith that God had given the Promised Land to the Israelite nation. (Numbers 13:26 Numbers 14:9) The other ten spies believe that if Israel had tried to take the land they would have been destroyed. The people of Israel believed the ten and God caused them to wander in the wilderness for another forty years.
The difference in the reports of Joshua and Caleb was that the ten had measured the giants against their own strength and Joshua and Caleb had measure the giant’s strength against the strength of God. God would not allow a generation of unbelief to enter in to the Promise Land so He waited until that generation had passed away. (Numbers 14:26-38) The only ones who were of age that were allowed to enter into the Promised Land was Joshua and Caleb.
For this reason it was fitting that the tribe of Judah be the first to receive their allotment of land on the west side of the Jordan. Also it was fitting that Caleb be the first of the tribe of Judah to receive his inheritance. The Lord God spoke His judgment with these words, “Not one of these men, this evil generation, shall see the good land which I swore to give your fathers, except Caleb the son of Jephunneh; he shall see it, and to him and to his sons I will give the land on which he has set foot, because he has followed the LORD fully.” (Deuteronomy 1:35-36) When Caleb spoke that he had followed the Lord his God it was not an act of pride, he was just repeating what Moses had said to him.
As Christians we should also be bold in asking for what God has promised us. We need not be timid in making theses request. God appreciates this kind of boldness.
Caleb repeats the statement, “but I followed the LORD my God fully.” This shows that following the Lord God fully had made a deep impression upon him. Rightly so as it is of great importance to follow God with a complete commitment. The people who achieve the greatest success are the one who have given themselves over completely to following God.
Caleb was a strong at the age of 85 as he was when 40 at the first time he had spied out the land of Canaan. Now his age was advanced but his strength had remained and was able to lead in the fight. It was not a fight just against anyone but against the Anakim, the giants that had placed fear in the other ten spies.
Though he is advanced in age, his strength is undiminished. At eighty-five he was out leading the fight, and not against just any foe, but against the Anakim.
Caleb was willing and able to fight. Caleb could have asked for an easier place in the land for an inheritance but he knows the Anakim must be faced and believed that he was the one to face them. Caleb didn’t leave the work to someone else even though he could have, he felt it not only his duty but also his desire.
What if all the mighty men of Israel had the heart of Caleb? What if none of the men of Israel had a heart like Caleb? The secret of Caleb’s determination is that he wholly followed the Lord God of Israel. Caleb was totally committed to His God.
Caleb stands as an inspiring example of faith in God. He was the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite. (Numbers 32:12) The Kenissites lived in the Negev, the southern desert region of Canaan. (Genesis 15:18-21) Jephunneh apparently married into the tribe of Judah a generation before Israel left Egypt.
Caleb first appears as one of the twelve spies Moses sent out to scout out the land of Canaan. Upon returning, all twelve confirmed the land’s magnificence, but ten of the scouts focused on the land’s fearsome inhabitants. (Numbers 13:31-33) Only Joshua and Caleb believed that God would enable Israel to conquer the Canaanites, (Numbers 14:6-9) advising that the Israelites immediately take the land. (Numbers 1s:30) Although the people wanted to stone Caleb and Joshua, (Numbers 14:1-4) God protected them and punished the people. (Numbers 14:11-38) God ultimately rewarded Caleb and Joshua for their faithfulness. Among all those who left Egypt, they were the only ones to enter the Promised Land.
After many years in the wilderness, Joshua and Caleb received their personal inheritance in the land. Caleb’s faith did not diminish in the intervening forty-five years; his testimony reveals his character and rock solid faith in God. Although Caleb was 85 years old, he was still strong and able to fight. Caleb drove out the Anakites to acquire Hebron. Caleb’s city of Hebron, about twenty miles south of Jerusalem, was occupied by giant Anakites who had terrified the earlier scouts. (Numbers 14:6-15 Numbers 13:28) Hebron later became a Levitical city of refuge. (1 Chronicles 6:55-57)
Caleb looked beyond serious obstacles to God’s unbreakable promise that Israel would occupy Canaan. With unabated vigor, he stood ready to conquer the territory Joshua had assigned him. Caleb’s staunch confidence in God’s reliable promises earned him an honored place among the faithful. Even when outnumberd by enemies, Caleb trusted God, and God richly rewarded him.